Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust: Healthcare from the heart of your community

Depression

Feeling down at certain points in your life is normal. When someone feels very low for more than two weeks it could be an indication of depression. Many people put off seeking advice as they think they are just going through a bad time and that they can cope. Some people can, but others need help to get better.

At Berkshire Healthcare we work alongside you, in your local area, to find the causes of your depression, to help you to feel better and get back to leading a normal life. Asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of.

What is depression and what are the symptoms?

Depression is more than just feeling low for a few days. As a general rule, if you are depressed, you feel sad, hopeless and lose interest in things you used to enjoy.

If these feelings persist for weeks or months and are bad enough to interfere with your work, social life and family life, you may be experiencing a depressive episode. Depressive episodes can be mild or severe and the symptoms vary widely from person to person.

You may be suffering from depression if you often:

  • feel tearful or guilt-ridden
  • find it difficult to make decisions and to be positive
  • have a lack of energy and cannot sleep properly

Symptoms to look out for in friends and relatives include:

  • moving or speaking more slowly than usual
  • complaining about unexplained aches and pains
  • displaying a change in appetite or weight
  • taking part in fewer social activities and avoiding contact with friends

You can read about other symptoms of depression here.

How we help you

The severity of your depression will determine how we help you. The first step in your journey to recovery is to visit your GP, or to refer yourself to Talking Therapies. If you are suffering from mild to moderate depression, Talking Therapies is likely to be the best service for you.

Once Talking Therapies has received your referral, either directly from you or via your GP, they will send you a letter asking you to telephone them to book your first appointment.

Your first appointment will be a telephone call from a health professional. It will last about 20 minutes and during this call you will be asked some questions about the difficulties you are experiencing. You can also discuss what areas you would like to work on and ask any questions you have about the service.

At the end of this first call, the treatment options available to you will be discussed and you can decide which one is best for you.

Sometimes, the practitioner may need to discuss your case with a colleague, in which case they will need to call you back. In some cases you may be asked to speak to another member of our team for further assessment because it's important for us to get you the right support.

If your case is more complex they will refer you to another service such as the Eating Disorders Service or the Complex Needs Service.

Once a decision on your treatment is made, we will be able to offer you support straight away. Due to the number of people with depression, there is sometimes a wait for on-going treatment. In the case of a delay in your initial treatment you will be offered preliminary support in the form of a course or workshop.

You can visit the Talking Therapies website for self-help guides and further instructions on how to refer yourself.

Need more information?

Depression, anxiety, stress and phobias are very common. You may find it helpful to complete the following questionnaire to help you understand if depression affects your daily life.

Living life to the full and Get Self Help provide useful guides and resources that you can read at your own pace in the comfort of your home.